Breaking news! Local robotics team figures out that foam tiles at worlds are very grippy.
Today, was check in and inspection day, we’re getting the robot all set and ready for competing at the event. Teams are filling up the lobby, lining up for inspection and talking among their fellow teams. All are exited about the competition, eager to get their robots on the practice fields to show off to other teams. Here we are, Free Range Robotics, at the world championships again, finding all our friends from New Zealand and telling them about our trip to Kentucky and showing off our brand new robot to them. We’re relieved that our robot made it to Kentucky safely after hearing about how some other NZ teams had their robots broken when the airport security opened up their boxes to inspect their robots. There were teams with bent intakes, and others with their whole wheels bent inwards.
Check in is what you would expect, waiting in line, checking in the team, getting your welcome kit, etc. After that, we got to go into the pits, to find that we were again, placed next to our friends from NZ! We got set up, plugged in batteries, hung up all of our NZ flags and making our pit presentable to the judges and other teams as they walked past. We had a scheduled inspection this time, which meant we could just walk in at our designated time, without having to wait in line at all. This was a nice change, because in previous years we would waste hours, standing around as the line slowly moved along the massive expo center. As always, Inspection went smoothly for us, we walked in, got our robot sized, then we were asked questions about our robot. At the end of the inspection process, we had a great time talking to the guy that inspected our robot, he was a really cool guy, who also happened to be the tech guy in our division.
As soon as possible, we rushed to the practice fields to get our robot and code tested, but we soon figured out that we had some problems to deal with. We drove the robot around for the first time on a field in America, and we figured out that the robot couldn’t shoot two flags at once anymore! This scared us, because back when we were in NZ, we spent hours, if not days tuning the robot so that it could double shoot. We were bamboozled. It took us ages to figure out what was wrong with it, but in the end we remembered that back in NZ, we had run out of rubber bands. This meant our flywheel bands wore out and caused the ball to slip when getting launched. Our temporary fix for this was to speed up the flywheel to compensate for the slip, which helped, but was going to be fixed once we got new bands in America. We had already ordered the new rubber bands from Amazon, and put them on the flywheel, but we completely forgot to turn back down the flywheel speed. Once we did this, the double shot was fixed! We could again shoot 2 flags in the mater of 100 milliseconds.
After this endeavour, we decided to check on our autonomous routines, but we soon figured out that the change to USA fields had ruined our auton routines far more than we thought they would. The robot would lose it’s bearings after a few seconds and start aimlessly driving around the field with no understanding of where it was. It took us a while to figure out what this issue was, but in the end, it turned out to be the fact that at the World Championships, they have brand new field tiles, and also put anti static spray on them. This gave the sensor wheels on the robot more grip, which in some cases is good, but actually caused our autonomous to break. In NZ we noticed that the robot was inconsistently scoring caps in the wrong place, which then led us to tuning the robot so that it would compensate for this. This was actually quite easy to fix, because all we had to do was re tune the autonomous to work on a more consistent field.
In conclusion, the day was pretty scary, figuring out that there are some really good teams in our division is making us think about new strategy’s so that we can beat them, and place high in our division. We’re relieved that the robot issues are all fixed, and won’t have to worry about them until we find another one to fix later on :(. We’re eager to start matches now, to find our strengths and weaknesses, and also to show em what we are!